Will work for food

At Bertucci's
CW copy desk reunion

On Wednesday, 2 November 2011, I had lunch with colleague Matt G. at El Pelon, near Boston College. We enjoyed the pescado (fish) burritos. Although there are several good burrito chains now in the area, including Chipotle, it’s nice to get something more authentic from a restaurant that isn’t part of a chain. Our group at TT has been dealing with some turnover lately.

That evening, I met several former IDG/CW co-workers for dinner at Bertucci’s in Framingham, Massachusetts. While I get along well with most of my current team, it was nice to recapture some of the camaraderie of the past 10 years and find out what people are doing now.

After getting our Verizon FIOS restored the next day, I met current co-workers at Union Street in Newton, Mass., for the going-away party of Alex H., with whom I went to Chicago this past summer. I’ll miss her, as I do Bianca S., Jess M., and others, and I hope to continue to meet and help train talented young staffers.

Speaking of Chicago and work, Janice and I ran into Colin S. and his girlfriend at the Christmas Craft Fair in Boston this past weekend. As usual, we enjoyed browsing among the paintings and photography, jewelry and clothing, and of course, food! We picked up a few pieces of dragon artwork from Ruth Thompson, as well as some soups, homemade soaps, and baked nuts (you are what you eat).

In addition to a Rotary Club pancake breakfast at Needham High School, Janice and I tried out Tavern in the Square in Central Square in Cambridge. It’s apparently a sibling restaurant to Union Street, and the food and drinks were similarly decent. The portions (and corresponding check) were a bit large, however.

We also stopped at Rodney’s Bookstore, the Compleat Strategist, and Pandemonium Books & Games. Among other things, I picked up the latest edition of Star Hero, but I resisted the temptation (for now) to also buy The One Ring or Airship Pirates in hardcopy, since I’m not running a high-fantasy Middle Earth or steampunk game right now.

In between preparing for my regular games (updates to come) on Sunday, Nov. 6, I picked up Beruk A. at the Riverside “T” station and drove to Thomas K.Y.‘s condominium in Lexington, Mass. We and Thomas’ girlfriend Kai-Yin H. watched 13 Assassins, a violent but well-choreographed movie in the style of Seven Samurai, one of my favorite films.

Thomas and Kai-Yin graciously shared a Chinese “hot pot” with lamb and pork for an early dinner with Beruk and me. We talked about upcoming movies, political and economic news, and Byron V.O.‘s planned visit.

For a few years now, our dinner options during weekly role-playing games were limited to Oak Hill sandwiches and Stone Hearth Pizza. During the past few weeks, we’ve added Indian food to the places we can order from, with Masala Art and Pronti Bistro. Variety is good!

Although Janice and I are bummed that the chocolate and baking classes offered through Needham Community Education were canceled, we won’t run out of things to do or places to eat anytime soon!

18 November 2009: Convention and concert report

I’m sorry that I haven’t blogged much in the past week or so — I’ve been busy with the usual round of work (for which I went to a trade show), gaming, genre TV, and seasonal events. I’ve also raked numerous bags of autumn leaves. On Saturday, 7 November 2009, Janice and I went into Boston for the Christmas Craft Festival at the World Trade Center. We didn’t buy lots of arts and crafts, just foodstuffs.

We got turned around a few times while trying to get to the Compleat Strategist, but we managed to eventually visit that game store and Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We enjoyed a late lunch at Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage, one of the best places for hamburgers in the area, and walked around the book shops of Harvard Square, which we try to get to quarterly.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, we returned downtown for the New England Fan Experience (NEFX) and Star Wars in Concert. Janice and I stayed overnight at the Courtyard by Marriott Tremont, which hosted the genre entertainment convention. The ballrooms at that venue were adequate in size, but the hallways and elevators were a bit crowded.

We caught the tail end of the session featuring Corin Nemec, star of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and Stargate SG1, as well as the career retrospective of character James Hong, who has worked in movies for more than 50 years! Hong was funny, doing impressions and mentioning his numerous roles in films such as Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, Mulan, and Kung Fu Panda.

Janice and I had lunch at the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery before taking the
train to meet former co-worker Ken G. and his girlfriend Kahmmie at the Boston
Garden. Star Wars in Concert was excellent, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a large screen showing clips from all six movies, and even lasers and pyrotechnics.

We had difficulty choosing whether to focus on the talented and precise musicians
or on the well-organized vignettes introduced by C3P0 himself, Anthony Daniels.
On the way into the arena, we gazed at some props and costumes from the two
trilogies, as well as people in costume. I was pleased to see many children (some waving toy lightsabers) in the audience and to see that George Lucas’ space opera lives on.

We then returned to the hotel, grabbing dinner at the International Burger Bar before attending more convention sessions. Unfortunately, because of the concert’s timing, we missed the guest of honor, Star Trek and Mission Impossible‘s Leonard Nimoy. Still, we did get to see Gareth David-Lloyd from Torchwood because his room was on our floor! In addition to the usual aging male fans of comic books and old television shows, there were younger, often female anime and horror enthusiasts, multiple generations of Star Trek fans, and people in outlandish costumes.

I was impressed by the number and variety of panels at the NEFX. That evening, Janice and I sat in on sessions about technology (and “technobabble“) in Star Trek, steampunk media (about which I hope to blog more soon), and archaeology in science fiction. The steampunk sessions were led by comic book author Everett Soares and the fun troupe “the Penny Dreadfuls.”

On Sunday, Nov. 15, we went to the knowledgeable Paul Gavins’ panel on “suitmation” vs. computer-generated imagery in kaiju (giant monster) movies. We also picked up a few elements of steampunk garb at the dealers’ room. I’m looking forward to visiting the Super MegaFest and the “Harry Potter” exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science in the coming weeks!